New Rotating multi-port valve enhances countercurrent ion exchange
14 June 2006: DESSEL, BELGIUM: Belgian separations technology company PuriTech has developed IONEX, an ion exchange system that is targeted at a broad range of industries. Based on an innovative valve design, this liquid adsorption separation technology improves liquid–resin contact efficiency while reducing plant operating costs and capital expenditure.
IONEX uses a single, multi-port distribution valve, creating a process system for continuous, countercurrent ion exchange. The patented valve distributes different flow streams to several resin cells and determines whether the resin is in an adsorption, a regeneration or rinsing cycle.
The technology is markedly different from other continuous, countercurrent ion exchange systems that are available in the market place. Instead of using a turntable, or carousel, to move the cells around a central valve manifold, the process disk within the IONEX valve rotates around a central axis and distributes the different flow streams to the cells containing ion exchange resin or other adsorption materials. During a full rotation each cell is subjected to an entire sorption cycle.
Filip Rochette, projects director at PuriTech said “Our design offers a number of advantages. For instance, rigid pipes can be used between the valve and ion exchange vessels, and sealing is greatly simplified, which means only O-rings and gaskets are required. In addition, a simple control unit can be employed because the system does not use a carousel.”
IONEX is also designed to be adaptable and versatile. A number of user functions can be carried out simultaneously under continuous operating conditions. Easy access to the valve — the system’s only moving part — and the ion exchange vessels, simplifies maintenance procedures.
Filip Rochette added “It is possible to build compact systems based on our technology. The ion exchange cells can be positioned in any desired pattern, providing maximum installation flexibility. IONEX also can be retrofitted to an existing ion exchange system, regardless of where the ion exchange cells are located.”
Compared with traditional fixed-bed systems, IONEX consumes up to 75% less water, while the volume of ion exchange resin required can be reduced by up to 50%, offering significant savings. A further comparison with alternative systems shows that a higher separation efficiency and product concentration can be achieved by using the technology. Countercurrent fluid flow and recycling, together with uninterrupted process streams guarantee high levels of recovery.
PuriTech offers valve configurations and materials for non-corrosive, corrosive and specialist applications. Each ion exchange system that is manufactured undergoes factory acceptance testing before it is delivered to a customer’s site. IONEX is targeted at a diverse range of sectors, including the water and wastewater treatment, electroplating, food processing, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, petrochemical and chemical industries, and it can be used to treat potable water.
Founded during 1996, PuriTech started conducting pilot trials of IONEX in 2001 when the technology was patented. The following year it sold its first commercial system, which was installed and commissioned in 2003. Since the installation of its first system PuriTech is experiencing tremendous growth as users start to understand the benefits offered by IONEX.